There’s a great phrase that says small hinges swing big doors. And I love that because in life I love looking for what are the small things that we can do that create a big outcome, that create a great benefit for our lives or for our relationships.
And so today I want to bring you three small things that you can do that make a big impact in your relationships. These are three habits that make your relationship last, check it out.
And today we’re talking about three habits that will make your relationship last. Now to kick off the first habit let me share with you a principle discovered by Dr. John Gottman, one of the world’s leading marriage and relationship researchers at the University of Washington. And what he found was healthy marriages had a five to one ratio of five positive interactions to one negative interaction.
So a positive interaction is anything from a compliment to a hug or a kiss, or even just turning towards one another when someone makes a bid for attention.
Like someone will say hey honey, how does this look on me? And the other person will turn and look and engage with them.
That’s a positive interaction. Negative interaction of course, criticism, argument, complaint, things like that. So a great habit that you can get into to make sure that your day ends on positive interactions or what I call nighttime appreciations, that’s habit number one, nighttime appreciations. And this is where you get into the groove of you lay in bed, give each other kiss, make love, whatever you going to do. But then right before you go to bed, you each share with each other three things that you appreciate about the other person. And this is incredibly powerful for couple of reasons.
Number one is you build a sense of appreciation and admiration for your partner.
When you think of what am I, what do I want to appreciate them for? you build this sense of gratitude and feeling gratitude for your partner is a really powerful feeling for fueling the love and connection in the relationship.
The second thing that you do is you build the connection because the other person often isn’t even aware of what you appreciate. And they can begin to do more of the things that you appreciate, or it just helps them feel good overall being appreciated. So my wife and I started this practice a few months back. And one night she said honey I really appreciate you for, and she started naming some things. And then she said “I really appreciate the dad that you are” And I said, “what do you mean?” And she said “I love how you get on the ground.
You get on the carpet and you wrestle with our kids and you let them climb on your back and you have fun with them and you play the monster game and the dragon game and the pirate game. And just come up with all these fun games.
I love the kind of dad you are, I feel so grateful for you.” And I could feel in that moment my heart opened and the feelings well up inside me. And what a great way to end your day with this feeling of love, of gratitude, and appreciation. The second habit for making a relationship last is regular frequent sex. Sex is super important to the relationship. And I’m sure you know this when the sex dies in the relationship, the relationship begins to die.
Sex lowers our cortisol, sex increases our oxytocin. The bonding chemical helps us feel close, helps us feel connected. And so in a committed relationship, you’re longterm with one another, or you’re married with one another. There’s all kinds of things that can get in the way of having sex. And so having a habit of regular sex means a couple of things.
Number one, both of you getting on the same page of the kind of frequency that would matter to you. How often does he want it, how often do you want it? And coming to an agreement on saying okay, this is our goal for having a healthy relationship. We make a goal for how often we’re gonna work out. We make a goal for the kind of food that we’re gonna eat and, and having an eating plan. If you want a healthy marriage or you want a healthy relationship, you should have a goal for how often you’re connecting sexually.
How often you’re making love with one another. And then remove the blocks that get in the way. And sometimes this means being creative. If you notice that after date night the two of you are exhausted because you’ve woken up early, you’ve worked all week and then here you are, it’s Friday night after date night and the two of you are exhausted, get creative.
Make love before you go on the date. Like build it, move your dinner plans to a little bit later, have a snack, make love before you go out. What a great way to be creative and increase the frequency. It might be having sex in the morning instead of at night or different times of the day, or it might be making quickies okay.
My wife and I were married over nine years before I learned that she was okay with quickies and I forget how it came up but one day she was like, “you know, honey, I’m, I’m okay with quickies.” She thought I wanted longer love making sessions. I thought she wanted longer sessions. ‘Cause that’s how we get programmed.
And it completely changed the frequency for us because sometimes you don’t have the energy to go for a long marathon lovemaking session. You only have energy for a quickie, but that still gives the relationship a ton of benefit.
And so identify what frequency is your goal? How often would you love to connect and then be creative and brainstorm ways to remove the blocks to the two of you connecting and having regular sex. And number three is a communication technique called “don’t assume, ask.” And it’s easy when you’re in a longterm relationship, whether you’re committed or living with one another or when you’re married to begin to assume things based on a pattern of the way they’ve been. And in relationships there’s always unspoken expectations.
An expectation for when the dishes will get done. An expectation on who’s gonna put away the laundry, an expectation of all these things. And if something shifts or changes it’s really important to instead of assume that it’s gonna happen the way it’s always happened, just ask. This literally happened to my wife and I this last week, where we had dinner reservations at seven.
Normally I tell her when I’m gonna be finishing work and that gives her a heads up for when she’s gonna get ready. But this particular day I was working right up until we were gonna leave. I didn’t tell her hey, when I was gonna be done. But I did tell her we have dinner reservations at seven. So 6:15 I come down and she’s not even close to being ready.
Dinner’s like a half an hour away. And so she was like, oh, “I assumed you were gonna tell me.” And I was like, “oh, I assumed that you were gonna just know that we had to be there at seven and so you would get yourself ready.” We both assumed that the other person was gonna be doing something different than we actually did. And so ultimately it wasn’t a big deal.
We just changed the dinner reservation. She went and got ready, but it wasn’t ideal either. So an relationship, you can avoid a lot of friction, a lot of bumps in the road by instead of assuming, asking. So I encourage you to bring these practices into your relationship. Nighttime appreciations, regular frequent sex, and don’t assume, ask. When you combine those three things, you’re setting yourself up for a great experience and building a relationship that has the foundation to last.
And my question for you is what habits, practices, principles have you learned that lead to a lasting relationship? Go ahead and share those in the comment section below. I’m gonna love reading the insights that you have. I appreciate you. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you soon.